11 Days Uganda Ultimate Experience

Straddling the Equator in the heart of Africa, Uganda is a land without equal. From the source of the Nile on Lake Victoria’s papyrus-choked shores to the snow-capped Rwenzoris, the game-thronged grasslands flanking Murchison Falls to the legendary Mountain Gorillas of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, Uganda is a country of astonishing contrasts. In a continent long renowned for its wildlife, Uganda alone combines the intoxicating abundance of classic, thorn-studded savannas with the biological wonders of the primate-rich Congolese rainforests.

Day 1: Entebbe

Accommodation: Protea Hotel

On arrival this morning in Entebbe, you will be met and transferred to the Protea Hotel, on the shores of Lake Victoria. Depart this afternoon for an exploration of Mabamba Swamp to see the legendary Shoebill—surely one of the world’s strangest birds. Dinner and overnight at the Protea Hotel.

Day 2: Entebbe / Murchison Falls National Park

Accommodation: Nile Safari Camp

This morning, transfer to the airport for the short flight to Pakuba Airstrip in Murchison Falls National Park, which straddles the impressive Victoria Nile. It’s a scenic flight over the falls and down the Nile River. A private vehicle transfers you to the Nile Safari Camp for lunch before your boat cruise out along the Nile. A foray upriver brings you to the foot of Murchison Falls, one of Africa’s most powerful and dramatic waterfalls. At this point, the mighty Victoria Nile is squeezed through a mere 15-foot-wide chasm and released over a sheer cliff to cascade nearly 150 feet to the rocks below, providing wonderful photographic opportunities. Uganda’s largest national park—a scenic wonderland of rolling palm-studded grasslands, Acacia woodland, Papyrus swamps, and the meandering Victoria Nile—is home to some of the most impressive concentrations of animals in all of Uganda. You have two full days to enjoy the magnificent scenery and bountiful wildlife of this unique area. Meals and overnights at Nile Safari Camp.

Day 3: Day 3: Murchison Falls National Park

Accommodation: Nile Safari Camp

Continue your exploration of the park by safari vehicle and river boat in search of such charismatic animals as the elegant Rothschild Giraffe, Lake Chad Buffalo, and African Savanna Elephant. Smaller herbivores such as Jackson’s Hartebeest, Bush Duiker, Sudan Oribi, and Ugandan Kob are plentiful, and support a healthy population of Lions. With luck, we should also encounter bands of terrestrial Patas Monkeys, a primate restricted to the arid savannas of the Sahel. Highlights of your stay are game viewing cruises on the Nile. This morning you’ll head downstream to the delta on Lake Albert. Keep binoculars and cameras at the ready for the large herds of Hippopotamus and enormous Nile Crocodiles, with Lake Chad Buffalos, Defassa Waterbucks, and elephants in close attendance. Birders will thrill to the species that live in this region: Goliath Herons, Grey Crowned Cranes, Red-throated Bee-eaters, and possibly even Shoebills.

Day 4: Kibale National Park

Accommodation: Ndali Lodge

After an early breakfast, begin the long, but fascinating, drive to Kibale, traveling from the Rift Valley into a patchwork of colorful villages and agricultural lands. Eventually you reach a mixture of forest and tea plantations; at the foothills of the looming Rwenzoris, or “Mountains of the Moon.” Overnight at the beautiful Ndali Lodge, with stunning vistas of the Rwenzori Mountains.

Day 5: Kibale National Park

Accommodation: Ndali Lodge

Spend a full day in Kibale National Park, one of Africa’s most researched and documented areas. Home to several large communities of Chimpanzees, many of Kibale’s primates are well studied and accustomed to human observers. The reserve is accessed by a series of well-marked and maintained trails and walking is relatively easy.

Chimpanzees are abundant here. Typically, they live in large communities and are located by their characteristic pant-hooting calls as they execute their nomadic treks along forest pathways and forage for fruit in the canopy above. Although they feed primarily on figs and other fruits, they also hunt and eat other forest animals. At these times, the Chimpanzees use their extraordinary social and communicative skills to band together and rush through the forest to capture ground dwellers such as bushpigs and duikers.

Although Chimpanzees are the main focus, you will also spend time viewing the other wildlife species which inhabit this diverse forest reserve. Those commonly encountered include Uganda Crested Mangabeys, Red-tailed and Grivet Monkeys, and both Ashy Red and Guereza Colobus Monkeys. The forest is also home to civets, genets and, though rarely seen, Uganda’s largest population of African Forest Elephants. Enjoy dinner and overnight at Ndali Lodge.

Day 6: Queen Elizabeth National Park

Accommodation: Mweya Safari Lodge

After an early breakfast, head for Queen Elizabeth National Park. The four-hour drive takes you once again to the western corridor of Africa’s Rift Valley. Arrive at Mweya Safari Lodge, situated on a bluff overlooking the Kazinga Channel and Lake Edward in time for lunch. This afternoon set out on a private boat cruise along the Kazinga Channel. This narrow ribbon of water teems with huge herds of Hippos—the largest concentration in the world—and buffalo, and connects Lake Edward with smaller Lake George. Birds here are both numerous and spectacular, including multiple species of eagle, stork, waterfowl, kingfisher, and bee-eater. Regarded by some as one of Africa’s best birding locations, more than 560 bird species have been recorded. Dinner and overnight at Mweya Safari Lodge.

Day 7: Queen Elizabeth National Park

Accommodation: Ishasha Wilderness Camp Camp

An early start provides a full day to explore Queen Elizabeth National Park. The focus is the southerly Ishasha sector of the park and its population of tree-climbing Lions as well as myriad other wildlife, including waterbucks, elephants, Giant Forest Hogs, and even Leopards. Dinner and overnight at Ishasha Wilderness Camp.

Day 8; Bwindi Impenetrable Forest

Accommodation: Gorilla Forest Camp

After a final exploration around Ishasha, set out for the world famous Bwindi Impenetrable Forest. The drive through the Ugandan countryside winds through rolling hills, cultivated lands, and villages that make for excellent photographic opportunities along the way.

Arrive at the permanent luxury-tented Gorilla Forest Camp, set on the edge of the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, a World Heritage Site and one of the most biologically diverse areas on the planet. Later this evening you’ll have a briefing on gorilla-watching etiquette followed by dinner and overnight.

Day 9 & 10: Bwindi Impenetrable Forest

Accommodation: Gorilla Forest Camp

Spend two days tracking Mountain Gorillas. Under the supervision of trained local guides, you’ll head out each day to the site where the gorillas were seen the previous day and then begin your search. Once the gorillas are located, you make your approach and sit quietly by them, watching and observing, with ample time for photography, or to simply enjoy this unique experience. The moment of looking into the soft brown eyes of a gorilla, to marvel at its size, and yet gentle countenance, as you introduce yourself to the family group, is truly unforgettable.

Other activities at Bwindi include forest trekking for the lesser primates, Blue and L’Hoest’s Monkeys. There are also opportunities to look for the many bird species that make this montane forest their home. Dinners and overnights at Gorilla Forest Camp.

Day 11: Bwindi Impenetrable Forest / Entebbe

Dayroom + Meals: Protea Hotel

After breakfast, board your charter aircraft for the short flight to Entebbe then return to Kampala and the Protea Hotel, where day-use rooms have been booked. Enjoy a final dinner at the hotel before you transfer to the airport for your independent late night flight homeward.